Record Laser Pulse the Key to Hidden Quantum World

Record Laser Pulse the Key to Hidden Quantum World

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The most significant breakthrough in the laser pulse field in four years provides scientists with a new tool to watch quantum mechanics in action — a world hidden from view until now. The work was also accomplished without using specialized equipment, such as a mile-long particle accelerator or Superdome-sized synchrotron.

University of Central Florida professor Zenghu Chang led the effort that generated the shortest laser pulse to date — a 67-attosecond (1 attosecond is a quintillionth of a second) pulse of extreme-ultraviolet light. There is much excitement about the accomplishment and the promise that Chang’s work holds for helping scientists understand how the world’s smallest building blocks actually work. The technique could lead them to an understanding of how energy can be harnessed to transport data, deliver targeted cancer therapies or diagnose disease.

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